Investments in the processing and packaging of food products in Africa is on the increase, driven by rising urbanisation and incomes, changing consumer tastes and preferences for conveniently packaged and easily accessible foods.

The World Bank predicts that the demand for food products in Africa will grow 60% by 2030 from the 2015 figures, putting a strain on the Continent, which still relies largely on food imports to fill local production gaps.

However, as more people move to the cities and as the demand for food arises, the risk posed by poor quality and unsafe food products rises exponentially, especially in urban environments that are projected to grow substantially over the next 30 years, as we approach 2050.

Beyond meeting the demand for local markets, African countries continue to seek investments to increase the local value addition of their agricultural produce and other food products to meet rising demand for packaged goods beyond their borders. Products that used to be exported raw, including coffee, tea, cashew nuts, cocoa, and various fruits and vegetables are increasingly being processed and packaged for export markets across Africa – as the Continent seeks to grab more of the income.


Investments in packaged foods businesses rise


As Africa urbanises, food habits change and incomes rise, not only are local businesses investing more in food processing, but also multinationals including AB InBev, Nestle, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Arla and many more have joined the race for a piece of the pie. 

This changing face of the industry will surely bring with it opportunities to improve the capacity of the food and agriculture value chain, while bringing with it complexities in regulatory compliance as new technologies get introduced into Africa, while opening doors to an improved, world class operating environment.

The Questions
How does Africa increase local production, processing and packaging of food while boosting the quality and safety of these food products? How does Africa build capacity of local companies to compete with bigger, more resourced and experienced multinationals in matters quality and food safety?
How does Africa manage the quality and safety of imported food products that are set to increase substantially? What mechanisms are there to improve local testing of quality and safety of these products? What regulatory systems should be adopted to ensure they are safe to local consumers?
What kind of mechanisms can African countries adopt to improve quality and safety of locally processed food so that they can access local, regional and international markets? How does Africa build capacity of local regulators to manage adequately improve quality of food products in local markets and abroad?